HTL Spengergasse Vienna uses digital twins in its CNC training courses
Vocational and professional training with Run MyVirtual Machine – extremely efficient and without the bottlenecks and operating risk involving a real machine. An interview.
The response of the real CNC plus visualization of the machine and machining process itself
Virtualization is becoming increasingly important, although real production using 3D printing or metal machining still represents an essential training element. The "Höhere Technische Bundeslehr- und Versuchsanstalt für Textilindustrie und Informatik" in Vienna (in short: HTL Spengergasse) has already been deploying innovative training models for some time now and is the first HTL (Höhere Technische Lehranstalt) in Austria to use Run MyVirtual Machine software.
Run MyVirtual Machine from Siemens is an NC programming station running on a PC that is identical to the real control, and which specifically addresses machine tools equipped with Sinumerik One. It facilitates simple learning and professional training, without requiring any physical hardware or machine. Preconfigured sample machines that can be directly used “out of the box” are available as part of the package. Using Sinumerik Operate and the original Sinumerik CNC kernel, all operating and programming operations can be executed and CNC programs run without any restrictions. The result is that new functions and programming options can be taught, tested and demonstrated in safe environments.
Run MyVirtual Machine /Operate and Run MyVirtual Machine /3D
Run MyVirtual Machine /3D is an additional option for the Run MyVirtual Machine /Operate basis package. This option extends Run MyVirtual Machine /Operate to include an integrated 3D machine and stock removal simulation. This allows machine movements to be visually evaluated and collision checks to be made. Using stock removal simulation, workpiece machining operations can be checked out in advance through simulation. 3D simulation is ideal when training equipping operations and running-in machines on a virtual model, therefore avoiding any risk of physical damage.
An interview with HTL-Spengergasse instructor Florian Woisetschläger and Christian Spanner, Head of Workshops and Laboratories as well as Bernhardt Wassermann, Sinumerik CNC application technician from Siemens.
"Can you please tell us something about the structure of HTL Spengergasse – and more specifically the various training paths in the Industrial Engineer department?"
Florian Woisetschläger: With about 2500 students taking part in day and evening courses, HTL Spengergasse is one of the largest vocational training facilities in Austria. We offer state-of-the-art training courses with a high degree of innovation and digitizalation in the fields of computer science, media & design, medical informatics and industrial engineering. Business IT and technical management are taught in our industrial engineer training courses. Innovative technical and business subjects, for example in the areas of computer science, business & management, mechatronics and automation technology are offered with the targeted use of new digital technologies. In the various specialist environments, such as workshops and laboratories, we deploy modern technologies in cooperation with key business partners.
"How do you work with your students in the various theoretical training courses?"
Florian Woisetschläger: The theoretical curriculum is supplemented by application examples from real day-to-day business activities. In particular, the course curriculum for design, production and automation technology offers the opportunity to awaken interest in students to participate in hands-on training in their specific subject.
"What are the special features of the theoretical and practical training sessions that influence the quality of your students' training?"
Florian Woisetschläger: We place special emphasis on exposing our students to state-of-the-art training content that they can subsequently put to good use in their selected career paths. As instructors, our career experience has confirmed that using industry-relevant software in a training environment increases the chance of finding a first job in industry.
Christian Spanner: In particular, a lot of space is dedicated in the technical content to cultivate close cooperation between specialist theory and specialist practice in the various technical subjects. You can use Run MyVirtual Machine to take theoretical content developed in design classes, such as simple turned and milled parts through to complex cast parts and clamping devices, and effectively apply it in practical classes. This helps our students to see and clearly understand corporate processes and workflows from a truly holistic perspective.
"In which training areas are you doing well and on what basis?"
Florian Woisetschläger: HTL-Spengergasse is very successful in offering comprehensive IT and technical training, which is also reflected in the high number of applications we receive and the excellent contact with industry. In the field of industrial engineering, a transition to new curriculum types is taking place, which provides a higher degree of flexibility for digitalization and individualization in the classroom. Location-specific priorities are possible through elective courses. The project orientation in the training environment is additionally promoted by new and innovative forms of teaching such as "case studies" or "smart production lab". Greater importance is being attached to the use of virtualization, although real production using 3D printing or metalworking still remain a key training element.
"What made you choose the Run MyVirtual Machine product?"
Christian Spanner: At the present time, we do not have a CNC-equipped machine tool in our training facility. We came across Run MyVirtual Machine after reviewing information we obtained after carrying out some research. Bernhardt Wassermann from Siemens walked us through the software in more detail.
Bernhardt Wassermann: It is great that we can support students and trainers alike in HTL Spengergasse. With Run MyVirtual Machine, the significant advantage for training facilities is that when the software is installed, several template production machines are immediately available as digital twin – and in the future, new ones will be added. Thanks to the realistic simulation of our new control generation – Sinumerik One – students have the advantage of being well prepared if they later want to work on a real machine. In addition, Siemens supports schools and universities with special academic packages of our software, which enable training centers to be very cost effective and remain at the cutting edge of technology.
"From your point of view of the collaboration so far, what are the most important advantages of Siemens Digital Industries?"
Florian Woisetschläger: After years of collaboration with Siemens Digital Industries in the PLC domain, I'm convinced about the advice and support they offer, but also the great range of training packages that Siemens makes available to schools.
After years of collaboration with Siemens Digital Industries in the PLC domain, I'm convinced about the advice and support they offer, but also the great range of training packages that Siemens makes available to schools.Florian Woisetschläger, MSc, teacher at the HTL Spengergasse
"In your opinion, what is the biggest change that digitization has brought about?"
Bernhardt Wassermann: From a technical perspective, product lifecycle management represents the biggest change. Using digital twins, potential for improvement can be identified before production actually starts. The same applies in production itself. Through real-time simulation using digital twins, collisions can be avoided; having said that, optimization of individual milling cycles is also extremely important. In the usage phase of products, new diagnostic features are available that permit a continuous improvement process.